In preparation for the 1994 Winter Olympics, the Norwegian government spent a massive two billion kroner on the town’s sporting facilities, which are now among the best in the country. Spread along the hillsides above and near the town, they include several dozen downhill ski trails catering for everyone from beginner to expert, floodlit slopes for night skiing, ski-jumping towers and multiple chairlifts, an ice hockey arena, and a bobsleigh track. There is even a special stadium – the Birkebeiner – where skiers can hone their skills before setting off into the mountains, which are crisscrossed by 350km of cross-country ski trails. As you would expect, most Norwegians arriving here in winter come fully equipped, but it’s possible to rent or buy equipment locally – the tourist office will advise, but note that advance booking is strongly recommended.

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